Drainage Boards and Planning

The Drainage Boards in the Somerset Consortium are a contributing authority in the planning process. Six councils in Somerset consult the Drainage Boards on matters of drainage, water level management and flood risk within the Boards’ boundaries.

The six councils are:


Planning applications and their details are made available to the Consortium staff for their comments. Our staff will investigate the site for flood risk and water level management issues as well as its proximity to a watercourse. The Boards response is then passed to the relevent Planning Authority for their consideration.

As a consultee in the process, the Board does not have the legal power to grant or reject a planning application that we scrutinise. Our role is to advise that any proposed development will not increase flood risk, adversely affect water level management or restrict the Board’s ability to maintain any watercourse.

The Consortium Boards have adopted policies to set out their position on development in their areas for the benefit of prospective developers and the Planning Authorities. The local Planning Authorities are party to the positions taken in the Board Policy documents and will endeavour to work to them where possible.

The policy document on Development & Flood Risk in Drainage Board Areas is available on this website.

In addition to the safeguards offered by the Planning Process, the Boards also have enacted Byelaws to control all works within 9 metres of any watercourse in the Drainage Board area. See also the Board’s policy Protecting access to watercourses and culverts.

When considering the surface water drainage of a development site the Board has produced guidance on the potential to use infiltration techniques to manage surface water run-off.

Sustainable Drainage Techniques video